Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Let RÜFÜS DU SOL whisk you away into summertime

April 25, 2016

RUFUS

RÜFÜS DU SOL, the Aussie nu-disco group that’s been showing up on major festival lineups this year, has good reason to be blowing up the way they have. Their latest album, Bloom, is electronica with an actual pulse; it combines catchy synth with heartfelt mood, so listeners receive the total package, a fire and ice combo. I don’t think the overall theme of the album is as important as the impressive fact that every. single. track. can stand strong on its own.

“Brighter” starts off with the recording of a rainstorm, dreamy vocals, slightly depressing lyrics, and musical-esque fingersnaps. The immediate mood is soaking wet, like the song weighs an extra few pounds. But the vibe dries itself off and sheds the excess weight via an infectious tropical house beat spritzed with retro-sounding laser zapping.

This sunny vibe toasts the rest of the record. It sways right into “Like An Animal,” which has more a house-y beat–an occurrence that comes in waves throughout the album. The bass is heavy and emotive, matching the message of the song: “Like an animal, I’ve still got love for you/And I’m coming, I’m coming home for you.” Other tracks that exhibit similar club banger qualities include my personal favorite, “You Were Right,” which carries with it sultry synth and an overall sexy, pleading, retro vibe. And though “Tell Me” is ready for summer radio play, I can see many a remix heading its way.

Airy tracks on the record include the popular, melancholic “Say A Prayer For Me” and “Hypnotised,” which has gorgeous female vocals, sleigh bells, and more pensive instrumentation. This one gives us a nice rip tide effect below the rest of the very build-climax-crash waviness throughout the rest of the record.

Another cut that caused a repeat play was “Be With You,” which starts with a choir-like echo that almost gives it a hip-hop vibe at first. The vocals are warm and groovy. The song is like one giant, sonic kaleidoscope. With recordings of people partying in the background, this is the track that everyone will get down to.

Bloom makes a graceful exit with “Innerbloom,” a heroic nine-minute track that feels more like a nine-minute meditation session in the middle of a drunken night; it’s happy, warm, and peaceful. With each song worthy of praise, this isn’t necessarily about an overall message; it’s like RUFUS’s mindset was, “Let’s make each track a fucking hit,” aka, the perfect electronic album to whisk you away into summertime.–Rachel Haney

Mid-Year pt 2

June 28, 2014

Mid-year pt 2: Acoustic Happy / Acoustic Sad

1. “High Up” – Wonderful Humans. WH has it all together to make perfect indie-pop: energy, enthusiasm, twee instruments, percussive elements, and melodies galore. Wonderful Humans is really good.

2. “Big River” – Wonderful Humans. ANOTHER WH TUNE BECAUSE I DO WHAT I WANT AND IT’S GOOD FOR YOU. WHOA-OH-OH-OH, WHOA-OH-OH-OH.

3. “Clams” – Pepa Knight. Exuberant indie-pop filtered through a Hindi-pop lens. It’s enveloping and enthralling. I’ve been super pleased with both of Pepa Knight’s singles so far.

4. “Give Me a Drug that Works Forever” – One Finger Riot. Mid-tempo Brit-pop, burbling electro, and American indie-pop collide in an infectious, memorable tune.

5. “Girls” – Slow Magic. Chillwave meets The Album Leaf meets Pogo. I APPROVE.

6. “Run Run Run” – Jenny Scheinman. Scheinman has a strong voice and a deft Americana songwriting touch. You won’t be able to ignore Scheinman much longer.

7. “Black Crow” – Juliette Jules. A voice mature beyond her years, songwriting beautiful beyond expectations, and production of excellent quality: Jules has everything working for her on this gorgeous, tender track.

8. “Wedding Day” – Anand Wilder and Maxwell Kardon. The lyrics grabbed me by the throat, and the folky/celebratory arrangement kept me involved. This is an impressive tune.

9. “Green Eyes” – Cancellieri. Originally by Coldplay, Cancellieri strips some of the pop sheen from this and gives it a romantic intimacy befitting the gorgeous lyrics.

10. “Is What It Is” – She Keeps Bees. This female-fronted singer/songwriter track is stately, composed, and elegant without becoming icy or distant. SKB creates great atmosphere here.

11. “Confederate Burial” – Snowblind Traveler. Snowblind Traveler matches up the icy arrangements of For Emma and the traditional melodies of old-school Americana to great effect.

12. “Blue Valentine” – Bloom. If you’re a fan of the sad but not hopeless sound that Pedro the Lion made, Bloom will scratch your itch for it with this beautiful track.

13. “Hold on to Your Breath” – Sleepy Tea. These Aussies live up to their name with a relaxing, refreshing vibe reminiscent of a slightly more energetic Parachutes-era Coldplay. Just a beautiful track.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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